Deutsch 101-326 an der Universität Michigan


German on the Web
Learning Strategies

German Dept.
Max Kade House
German Club
PONS online dict.
L.E.O. online dict.
Wortschatz Deutsch




Deutsch 325--004: Deutsch für Ingenieure I: Kursinfo Herbst 2015

Dozent, Sprechstunden Lehrbücher
Notenschema; Quiz Anwesenheit und Beteiligung
Respectful Classroom Environment Academic Integrity, Essays, Homework
Journal-Eintragungen, andere Hausaufgaben und Lesestrategien Präsentationen

Dozent: Hartmut Rastalsky; 3214 MLB; 647-0404 (Büro)/929-0628 (zu Hause)

Sprechstunden: Montag 1-2 (3214 MLB), Mittwoch 1-2 (Deutschlabor im Language Resource Center), und nach Verabredung.


Required Meyers Lexikonverlag: Wie funktioniert das? Technik heute. 6th ed., 2010 [ISBN: 9783411088560]

Collins German Unabridged Dictionary, 8th Ed. [ISBN: 0062288822]

Recommended Martin Durell: Hammer's German Grammar and Usage, 5th ed. [ISBN: 1444120166]
Dictionary Recommendations
  • By far the best online dictionaries are PONS,, and LEO. Links to them are in the navigation bar on the left. For ordinary language and basic technical terms, start with PONS, which is very helpful in choosing the right word. LEO has a bigger database of technical terms, and provides easier access to noun plurals and verb conjugations. is a good compromise between the two. It has great "crowd-sourced" pronunciation samples and is customizable in lots of cool ways. If in doubt, check your results by a Google search and/or by comparing German and English wikipedia entries.
  • The Harper Collins German Unabridged Dictionary is a great, comprehensive reference.
  • Excellent comprehensive technical dictionaries are Brandstetter's Wörterbuch der industriellen Technik and Langenscheidt's Fachwörterbuch Technik und angewandte Wissenschaften, but these are very expensive, and liable to become outdated.


Anwesenheit und Beteiligung 20%
Aufsätze 20%
Hausaufgaben: Journal-Eintragungen, Vokabelsätze usw. 20%
Quiz 20%
1. Gruppenpräsentation 10%
2. Gruppenpräsentation 10%


Wir werden ungefähr alle 3 oder 4 Unterrichtsstunden einen Quiz haben. Jeder Quiz testet das, was wir seit dem letzten Quiz gemacht haben (Vokabeln, Texte, Grammatik usw.)

Anwesenheit und Beteiligung:

  • To receive an "A" for attendance and participation, you must attend, be on time [pünktlich], and participate well.
  • ***Speaking and listening in class are an essential part of this course ==> If you have more than TEN absence hours [defined below] at the end of the semester, your FINAL COURSE GRADE will be an AUTOMATIC E***
    • If you have 8 - 10 absence hours, your ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION GRADE (20% of your final course grade) decreases by two full grades (e.g. a "B" becomes a "D")
    • If you have 4.5 - 7.5 absence hours, your ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION GRADE (20% of your final course grade) decreases by one full grade (e.g. a "B" becomes a "C")
    • Ask me about ways to make up "absence hours," such as attending the conversation hours in North Quad or the MLB. You can make up a maximum of three absence hours.
    • Please explain all absences, in advance if possible. Excused absences count as half an "absence hour," i.e. for example 8 excused absences + 2 unexcused absences = 6 "absence hours."
    • Absences for the following reasons will generally be excused: medical, psychological or family issues, family events such as weddings, baptisms or graduations, job interviews, trips for musical performances, debates or athletic events in which you are participating, etc.
    • Absences for the following reasons will generally be unexcused (but please still tell your instructor what's going on, so s/he won't think you've stopped caring!): oversleeping, hangovers, studying or completing work for another class, fraternity or sorority events, trips to attend concerts or athletic events, family trips, etc.

Respectful Classroom Environment

This class really depends on all of us being comfortable interacting informally with each other, experimenting with the language, taking risks, and being playful. That means that what is important in every college classroom is especially important for us: that it should be a comfortable environment in which everyone feels welcome and respected. That means thinking about the things we say, not perpetuating stereotypes, and apologizing if you said something you didn't mean. It also means that I really want you to let me know, in class or outside of class, in person or via email, if something happens in class that makes you uncomfortable - or if you believe your own words or actions have made someone else in the class feel uncomfortable - so that we can talk about how to make things better. If in doubt, please say something: I will always be happy to hear from you.

  • Note: If there are students in this class whom you know from your previous German course(s), then of course it's great if you continue to enjoy working with these old friends. But we also hope you will make an effort to meet new people in this class, and be open to making new friends!
  • In this context, please bear in mind the University of Michigan's non-discrimination policy: The University of Michigan is committed to a policy of equal opportunity for all persons and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, marital status, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, disability, religion, height, weight, or veteran status in employment, educational programs and activities, and admissions.

Academic Integrity, Essays and Homework

This course is governed by the prevailing Codes of Student Conduct and of Academic Integrity of the University of Michigan and the College of Literature, Science and the Arts (LSA). All work submitted must be original student work produced for this course, with proper quotation and citation of the contributions of others. Violations of Academic Integrity will be taken seriously and can in serious cases result in a failing grade for the course and/or referral to the LSA Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education. Official LSA policies on Academic Integrity, and also a quiz on Academic Integrity, can be found at:

Essays: The four essays (and rewrites of these essays) that you submit for this course are where this policy crucially applies. This means:

  • You may NOT get someone who is proficient in German to proofread your essay. We recognize that you can actually learn a lot from having someone look over your essay with you, but we have to enforce this rule in order to make the grading fair for everyone. It IS OK for you to ask me, an instructor in the German Lab, or some other proficient speaker 3 or 4 specific questions on how to say something. If you do so, please put the relevant text in bold print in your essay and include a note at the end with the name of the instructor or peer who helped you. If the person who helped you is a UofM German instructor and s/he chooses to help you with more than 3 or 4 things, you may cite the additional items in the same way.
  • You may ONLY use an online translator for single words and short phrases. When you do, please underline the relevant word or phrase and note the source you used at the end of your essay. Do this also when you use a paper dictionary. If you used multiple dictionary/translation resources, find a way to cite clearly which ones you used for what word/phrase. Note that online translators often produce noticeably absurd translations. The less you use them, the better your grade is likely to be. The hassle of having to cite every use of such resources in your essay will hopefully serve as an additional disincentive and reminder to keep you from overusing them!
    • It is normal (and good practice!) to look up the genders and plurals of nouns, and the conjugation patterns of verbs you use in your essay. You do NOT need to cite your use of online or paper dictionaries for this purpose!
    • I strongly encourage you to use a German spellchecker for your essays (and for your homework, and also for any spells you cast in German). You do NOT need to cite your use of this resource.
  • If you consult any additional resources not assigned in the course (e.g. wikipedia or other online sources), please cite them at the end of your essay, even if you did not quote from them directly. Put any direct quotes in quotation marks and cite the source with a footnote. Any format for the citation is acceptable if it allows me to find the specific source.
  • If you have no sources to cite (you didn't look anything up in a dictionary, no one helped you, and you consulted no other sources), please write "I did not consult any outside sources for this essay :) " at the end!
  • If in doubt, ASK ME before submitting your essay!!
  • ADVICE: You will get the most out of writing the essays for this course by creatively using the language you have learned, and thus "making it your own." Applying what you have learned will "make it stick," whereas new words and phrases you look up are much less likely to "stick" in your mind after you have written the essay. Thus, you benefit much less from the additional work of looking them up, and you increase the potential for mistakes. When you write about a German article you have read, look for opportunities to express the ideas from the article more simply in your own words. Where that is not possible or appropriate, integrate the language of the article as much as you can into your own language, so that you are actually practicing and thus learning how to use the new terminology you are taking from the article.

Homework/Journals: You are allowed (and even encouraged!) to get help from others and to collaborate with classmates on homework; you may also use online translators and other sources without citing them. Although you are not required to cite your sources, it is still good practice to do so, and I can then give you feedback on your use of these resources. In many cases, this feedback will be positive: I may encourage you to continue getting help from the person who helped you, or may let you know that you are using translation resources well (which is a difficult and valuable skill to learn). If I am concerned that you are getting too much help and/or making excessive use of online translators and not learning as much as you could from the assignments, I will discuss this with you.

Journal-Eintragungen, andere Hausaufgaben und Lesestrategien:

  • Whenever you are assigned a text to read, you need to hand in a written assignment based on your reading. Unless the homework plan specifically states otherwise, you always have the following two choices for doing this:
    • EITHER you can write an informal (handwritten or typed) journal entry about each text you are assigned. Journals should be at least 100 words in length and should indicate that you have spent a reaonable amount of time on the reading (i.e. at least an hour, unless you can get a good understanding of the text in less time). Your journal can be a reaction to what you read, a summary of what you read, something in between, or something more creative.
    • OR you can write 10-12 "Vokabelsätze": sentences based on the text using vocabulary from the vocabulary list for that text (please underline the vocabulary words you are using). In writing your ten sentences, please try to use your own words as much as possible.
  • Your journals, vocab sentences and all other homework will be graded on a "check"/"check plus"/"check minus" scale based mainly on content. A journal/set of Vokabelsätze that indicates that you have spent enough time on that week's reading gets a "check." Late journals/sets of Vokabelsätze or journals/sets of Vokabelsätze that are too short or look like you may not have done the reading carefully enough get a "check minus." "Check plusses" are awarded for journals/Vokabelsätze whose content and/or German is outstanding.

Please think in terms of reading texts multiple times instead of just once thoroughly: skim them once quickly for the main idea, one more time to select a few words you think you will need to look up, and then once carefully. Try to guess the meanings of unfamiliar words using the context, your knowledge of the subject, similarities to related English terms, etc. If your guess turns out not to make sense, then you should go back and look the word up. Don't feel guilty if you don't look up every unknown word: feel guilty if you do! Of course, you should also feel guilty if you have no idea what's going on in the text and you don't look up the words that seem important smiley


Each of you is responsible for two group presentations, each no longer than 20 minutes (no longer than 15 minutes for groups of two). Grades for the presentations will be based primarily (40% each) on their content and comprehensibility, and also on the accuracy of your German (20%).

Presentations should be in German, and should be done using PowerPoint [==> Important phrases: "Nächste Folie" = "next slide"; "noch nicht" = "not yet"; "Zurück!" = "back!"]. You should focus your efforts on making what you say comprehensible to the other students in the class. In particular, this includes

  • giving your presentation based on minimal notes. No more than about 25% of the words you actually end up saying should already be on your Powerpoint slides. In addition, you may use one easily legible cue card for additional information such as technical data, statistics, and a couple of "prompts" as reminders for yourself in case you get stuck. Your partners can also prompt you if you get stuck; your group should discuss how you will handle this if it comes up. If you are reading your presentation, you can be sure it will be difficult for the rest of the class to follow ==> if you do not follow these guidelines, your "comprehensibility" grade will be a "C" or lower.
  • using diagrams and key words on your PowerPoint slides to help the class follow along. Use multiple slides in order to divide the information you're presenting into manageable "chunks."
  • making a handout.
    • This handout should include
      • a list of 10-20 vocabulary items. This should also be the first slide of your presentation, and you should begin your presentation by having the class repeat this vocabulary ["Wiederholen Sie bitte!"]--so be sure you can pronounce it!
      • a 5-8 line summary of your main points. This should also be the second slide of your presentation, and you should read it to the class ==> it should not exceed 8 lines
      • some questions to be answered by the class at the end of your presentation. These questions should also be the last slide of your presentation
      • the guidelines above about not reading do not apply to these three slides (i.e. the vocabulary, summary and questions) smiley
    • You should bring copies of the handout to class to accompany your presentation. Please email me your handout as an attachment in Microsoft Word at least four days before your presentation, in order to leave time for me to correct it if necessary.
    • If you do not make a handout, your "comprehensibility" grade will be a "C" or lower.

Your presentation can (but need not) be based on a text from Wie funktioniert das, but should include some information that is not in the text. You could discuss any combination of the following topics:

  • how "it" works
  • what can go/has gone wrong with "it" and how this can be/has been fixed
  • how "it" can be made particularly well
  • how "it" could be improved/developed in the future
  • a brief outline of "its" history/discovery/development. A list of names and dates by itself is not very interesting, but a brief indication of what aspects of the technology had been developed at each stage, and which were still missing, can be a great introduction to the presentation.
  • interesting/unexpected applications of this technology
  • if you can find information about a German/Austrian/Swiss company that manufactures "it," you could describe any outstanding/characteristic features of the product as it is manufactured by this company
  • it's great if you can actually bring in an example of "it" (or parts of it) to show or even pass around during your presentation
  • you should include more than just the information in Wie funktioniert das? Use German sources for any additional material in order to avoid translating from English, which would be likely to lower your comprehensibility grade.

If you plan for each of you to speak for about 4 minutes, chances are that each of you will end up taking about 5 minutes. Including the time it will take for

  • your group to have the class repeat the vocabulary, and to read the summary to the class
  • the class to answer the questions on your handout when you are finished
  • the class (and myself) to ask you questions afterwards

...this should make your presentation be of the appropriate length.

Practicing for your Presentation & Avoiding Nervousness: It is a very good idea for you to practice giving your presentation out loud several times before you actually give it. You can either do this as a group, or individually. You should try actually saying out loud (quietly if necessary) all the words you will say in your presentation, using only the minimal notes on your PowerPoint slides and one notecard. Use a stopwatch when you do this, to make sure your part of the presentation takes about 4 minutes. If your part takes longer than 6 minutes, this will be a problem for the other group, and the other members of your group!

Eye Contact: Make eye contact [=der Blickkontakt] regularly with individual students in your audience (rather than looking at the class as a whole). This will give you a better feel for your audience, and will help your audience to be more attentive, and to understand you better. It's also extremely helpful if you're feeling nervous, because it changes the situation from you speaking to a big group to you speaking to a series of individuals in turn. You should be looking primarily at your fellow students, and at most occasionally at me.



Site Questions or Notice Errors | © 2015